Public Release: 

Interdisciplinary coral bleaching research funded

Mathematical sciences joins biological sciences

Florida Institute of Technology

Dr. Semen Koksal, associate professor of mathematical sciences, has earned the university's first interdisciplinary grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The $97,168 grant will fund her work on the coral bleaching problem, which she will undertake with Dr. Robert van Woesik. A Florida Tech professor of biological sciences, van Woesik is also an internationally recognized authority on coral reefs and coral bleaching.

The team will develop mathematical models to better understand the bleaching problem on coral reef populations and to predict future changes to coral reefs. Their work will be over the next 12 months.

Localized warming of the world's oceans is causing thermal stress and bleaching of coral reefs and subsequent coral decline. Mass coral bleaching is now the biggest threat to the survival of coral reef ecosystems.

Koksal's funding is through an NSF Interdisciplinary Grant in the Mathematical Sciences. The NSF gives the grant to approximately 10 mathematical scientists each year, nationwide. The goal of the grant is to enable mathematical scientists to undertake research in another discipline to expand their skills and knowledge in other areas, to apply this knowledge in their research, and to enrich the educational experiences and broaden the career options of their students.


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